15 September 2015
Keep activists safe, apprehend assailants immediately
Lawyers for Liberty is deeply concerned with the recent attacks against well-known LGBT activist Nisha Ayub and student leader Syahir Rahimi Sukri, president of Gabungan Mahasiswa Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
Nisha Ayub was attacked with an iron rod last Thursday by two men and sustained several injuries while she was on her way to work while Syahir Rahimi was attacked, wounded with slash marks and splashed with paint at 4 am yesterday while guarding campus election materials.
These attacks are clearly crimes of intimidation and malice against human rights activists, not ordinary petty crimes, as they specifically target those who are vocal and well-known for advocating their causes.
The violent acts perpetrated against Nisha Ayub, a member of the LGBT community herself is a stark reminder that these individuals are extremely vulnerable and face serious discrimination and threats of violence based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in Malaysia.
In the case of Syahir Rahimi, it is clear that the attack was a vicious intimidation tactic intended to discourage him from student activism. To make matters worse, progressive student activists like him are also constantly being harassed by the authorities and universities themselves in order to deter them from participating in any form of progressive activism.
We would like to remind the authorities that these activists deserve equal protection under the law even though they may not agree with their activism. Activists must be given the space, freedom and security to carry out their work safely and without being targeted by threats, violence or selective prosecution, as this will prevent them from carrying out their activism freely and effectively.
We call on the authorities not to take such crimes lightly or allow a culture of impunity to fester and develop over time. They must take immediate and serious action against the perpetrators, failing which they would only embolden the perpetrators or others to commit similar or even more serious crimes.
Lawyers for Liberty
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